Once upon a time there was a rather shabby old corduroy coat. It had been through many winters, and was becoming a little bit threadbare in places. Lucy inherited the shabby coat three years ago from an Old Friend who wanted rid of it but felt it was too good to go to the charity shop. The Old Friend told Lucy the coat was "Designer". The old coat was really too big for Lucy and made her feel a little bit frumpy, but it was warm and did the job, and besides Lucy didn't have any other coats for Winter.
The thing that Lucy loved most about the old coat was the unexpected bright pink satin lining.
The thing that Lucy hated most about the old coat was the incredibly dull beige colour.
Even when she jazzed it up with colourful crochet scarves, it still looked drab.
Lucy began to fantasize about spending a ridiculous amount of dosh on a jazzy little Boden number.
She had a hankering for a scarlet red coat you see.
Then one bright day in the middle of a glorious October Autumn, Lucy was hit with an idea.
Dye. Tulip Red fabric dye.
It might not work, but it was worth the risk.
If it didn't work out, then Lucy would have to look for a cheap coat to replace the up-cycling failure.
But if by some miracle she could indeed turn the boring beige into glorious Tulip Red, well, it would be a very happy tale indeed.
Have you ever dyed clothes in the washing machine?
Have you ever been through the killing, toe-curling suspense of such a thing?
My, my, it is tough! Lucy's washing machine is in the cellar, and the full cycle takes a few hours.
The wait, and the constant to-ing and fro-ing up and down the cellar steps was torture.
The washing machine cycle eventually came to a shuddering end, and it was time to pull the coat out.
The washing machine looked frightfully scarlet.
You know what happened, don't you?
You can guess how Lucy's beige coat fared?
....a complete success.
Oh Happy Day!!!!!
Lucy was thrilled to bits, she couldn't quite believe her good fortune.
After the first dyeing cycle, the coat was indeed bright scarlet, the exact colour of a tulip.
After the second rinsing cycle, the colour faded very slightly, but Lucy was still exceptionally happy with it.
As you can see, the synthetic parts of the coat did not take up the dye. So the toggles, fake fur, zip and stitching remained beige. But Lucy did not think it mattered and she remained happy as Larry.
The colour was everything she had been hankering after.
Lucy wore the coat with pride, and was thrilled when so many people complimented her on her New Coat.
She told everyone about the dyeing success, about this being an Old Coat really, not a new one.
How wonderful to be the owner of a Red Coat! It gave Lucy a lot of pleasure.
Then a few weeks ago something happened.
A little nugget of a creative idea began to germinate, and the idea refused to go away.
The more Lucy thought about it, the more she knew she would have to give in to it.
The coat would have to be PimPeD. AdOrnEd. EmBeLliSheD.
Crochet would be involved.
Lucy already had the perfect yarn for the job, a gorgeous bag of Drops Cotton Merino in delicious colours.
It was this amazing creation that sparked the idea. Little Squares.
Of course. They would be perfect.
A short row across the pocket flaps, and maybe a ring of them around the cuffs?
The pattern for these little squares was nowhere to be found.
But by scrutinising Kirstens photos, Lucy was able to work out how to make something that looked right.
It was fun.
Those little squares whizzed off the hook in three quick rounds.
The yarn was a joy to work with. Smooth and easy on a 4mm hook.
The colours were delightful, a funky mixture of brights and pastels.
It was satisfying work.
And these little squares made Lucy very happy.
Lucy knew these rows of little squares would do something good to the red coat.
She knew it was going to make the coat Completely Hers.
It was all a little bit bonkers, but then Lucy does have a soft spot for bonkers.
She edged the rows in red to match the coat, so that it would be easy to disguise the stitching.
Crocheted Pocket-flaps and Cuff-rings. Yes, bonkers!
Yesterday morning, Lucy had a few child-free hours and she couldn't wait to complete this project. She settled herself into the Big Chair in the light of the bay window and quietly stitched.
Oh, just look at that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The sight of embellished pocket flaps suddenly made Lucy feel very happy indeed.
The cuffs were a little trickier, as the Old Coat is showing signs of wear.
The fabric is thin and there are holes.
But Lucy slipped the cuff-rings on and knew that it was going to be ok.
Careful stitching, that's all. Lots and lots of tiny, neat, careful little hand stitches to attach the hooky to the worn out fabric of the coat.
This morning, Lucy wore her Upcycled Tulip-red coat with embellished pocket-flaps and cuff-rings for the very first time.
She felt self conscious, like EVERYONE would be staring hard at her cuffs.
But of course no one did. Only Lucy was aware of them for every step of her walking day. It was a private, secret little well of happiness.
And so this is the story of how a drab old unloved beige hand-me-down was turned into something bright and beautiful and a little bit bonkers.
Lucy is very, very, very delighted with her old/new red coat.
It is a whole lot of happy-ever-after.
ps re the pattern for the little squares :: I'm trying to contact the Norwegian designer to check that it's ok for me to write up my version of the pattern. Fingers crossed, as I would love to share it.
pps I almost forgot!>>> Fig1.co.uk announced the winner today for the Happy Rice Giveaway, chosen with a random number generator thingy. Thank you to everyone who entered! The lucky lady is Emma from Devon :: Emma we have contacted you, congratulations :o)
EDIT TO ADD :: Yes, the washing machine is absolutely fine :o) Dylon Fabric Dye is pretty respectable stuff, if a little bit scary when the colour work is in progress!